Pep Guardiola set to risk FIFA sanction by playing banned Man City stars vs Leicester

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Pep Guardiola is ready to play banned Brazil stars Ederson and Gabriel Jesus against Leicester City on Saturday with or without FIFA’s permission. Manchester City were one of eight Premier League clubs who chose not to release stars for international duty in World Cup qualifiers last week.

FIFA responded by banning the players for five days. 

But while City are officially waiting for the outcome of negotiations between the world governing body and the Premier League, Guardiola appeared to have made his mind up. 

“Right now I’m thinking they will play,” he said. “They are going to travel and be ready to play. Maybe we’ll have a letter from FIFA or the Premier League. 

“I’d prefer to know but the most important thing is the clubs can’t do anything.

“We never said don’t go to play for the national teams. But if they travel, they cannot play and if they stay here they are banned,” said the City boss. 

“What do you do? If they go it is 10 days’ isolation in a hotel. If they don’t go it’s five days they can’t play. It’s crazy.” 

Guardiola’s highlighting of a Catch-22 situation for clubs makes a good point. And he maintained that if City did ignore an instruction from FIFA they would probably not be alone. 

“From my experience, the Premier League have meetings, we’ll do this and that and everyone does what is best for themselves,” he said.

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“We’ll wait and see what the Premier League and FIFA say and then we’ll decide.” 

City have more reason than most to defy any instruction given second choice goalkeeper Zach Steffen is currently quarantining after testing positive for Covid on international duty.

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Veteran goalkeeper Scott Carson, 36, who has just one appearance for City on his record – a 4-3 win at Newcastle in May – is on standby should Ederson not play.

Teenagers Cieran Slicker and MIkki van Sas are next in line as back up.

City at least go into Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester City off the back of two 5-0 wins against Norwich and Arsenal. 

And they cold be buoyed by the return of Kevin de Bruyne who has got through a full week of training with no reaction from the ankle injury he picked up at the Euros this summer.
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